Cafes hanging in but markets close

“MASSIVE, massive, massive.”

Chalkies cafe owner Danielle Theseira sits amidst a small pile of invoices on one of the tables her customers are no longer allowed to sit at.

The obvious impact on her business almost doesn’t need the question asked.

After spending the last couple of years building up the cafe into a West End success story, she’s managed to stay open by developing a take-away food menu with simple shepherds pie and lasagne to go with the coffees, but staff have had shifts cut just to get by.

“We have amazing customers; they are in a sense coming to support us when they can,” Ms Theseira said.

The scene was similar through the port city, although the closure of Gino’s on Monday morning was something regulars thought they’d never see.

George Batatzidis and Paul Kennedy couldn’t drag themselves away just yet; with takeaway coffees found across the road at Benny’s, they took up a bit of street furniture to read the paper and ponder the strange new world around them.

“Even during the war it wasn’t like this,” Mr Batatzidis said.

On Thursday evening, the  Fremantle Markets announced it would be closing immediately, following the lead of the E-Shed markets which made the announcement earlier in the day.

“At this time, we are unable to forecast how long we will remain closed, other than to say it could be for at least a few months,” the Markets said in a release, before reminding people to support their stallholders through their online stores.

On Thursday Fremantle council also announced it would not be allowing visitors to its administration centre at Fremantle Oval, saying all business with the city would have to go online or be done over the phone.

The closure of the customer service desk means the pick-up and drop-off of items from the Fremantle Library will no longer be available, however City of Fremantle Chief Executive Officer Phillip St John said the City’s book delivery service would be expanded to compensate.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to take this step because I know how much people love the library and there will be lots of people stuck at home looking for things to do over the coming weeks,” Mr St John said.

“To ensure that people can still access library services the City has extended its housebound library delivery service to twice weekly drop-offs on Mondays and Thursdays to all City of Fremantle library members in the Fremantle and East Fremantle areas,” Mr St John said.

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